The Bahamian diet is actually two diets -- a food-based, vegetarian diet and a supplement regimen, which can replace or supplement a low-calorie, vegetarian diet. The diet was developed by Dick Gregory, a social activist and comedian, who has been performing since the 1950s. Along the way, Gregory developed health problems -- he smoked, drank and ballooned to 350 pounds. He felt he needed to change his lifestyle, which led him to create the Bahamian diet.
The Supplement Diet
Gregory originally developed a supplement called Formula Four X -- which is now sold as Dick Gregory's Caribbean Diet for Optimal Health. The powder supplement contains a variety of vegan ingredients including rice and flaxseed powder, coffee bean, bitter melon and milk thistle extract, mango and lime fruit powder, pepper and even turmeric root. The diet involves taking two or three scoops a day of the supplement to replace meals. Gregory does not specify how long to stay on the supplement-only regimen -- nor does Wellness in Nature LLC, the company that now markets the product -- but Gregory says that he has given the supplement to friends and colleagues over the years to help them lose weight and overcome health problems.
The Science on the Supplement
In a study in a 1989 edition of the "Journal of the National Medical Association," diabetic rats fed the Bahamian diet mix actually gained weight more quickly than rats in two control groups, but the Bahamian diet group showed greatly improved insulin and blood glucose levels over the course of the one-year study. There are no other studies specifically on the Bahamian diet, but the University of Maryland Medical Center says that no medicines, herbs or supplements can help you lose a lot of weight and that many supplements have side effects. The only way to lose weight is to decrease the number of calories you eat and increase your exercise and activity, according to the medical center.
The Food-Based Diet
While Gregory recommends using the formula, he also described the diet's food plan in his most recent autobiography: "Callus on My Soul." For breakfast -- and until noon -- you eat nothing but fruit. Lunch consists of a vegetable salad or more fruit. Dinner is 1/2 cup of white rice, topped by a mixture of half an onion, four pieces of garlic, 9 tablespoons of olive oil and 6 tablespoons of liquid amino acid, all pulsed in a blender. Gregory says you should drink eight glasses of water daily. To enhance your beverage, squeeze the juice from eight lemons, four oranges and two grapefruits, and mix these with 1 1/2 cups of pure maple syrup in a 1-gallon container of spring water.
In another study published in the 1989 "Journal of the National Medical Association" article, New Orleans police officers who received a daily Bahamian diet supplement as part of an overall meal plan lost more weight -- an average of 16.8 pounds, or 1.5 pounds per week -- than other groups on the same meal plan fed a placebo or a different supplement during the 10-week trial. Participants in the three groups consumed the same number of calories daily -- 1,500 for men and 1,200 for women -- which included the placebo or supplement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that there is no evidence that eating fruits and vegetables will help you lose weight. But, the CDC notes that replacing high-calorie, processed and nutrient-deficient foods in your diet with fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories and nutrient dense, will keep you full for longer -- and help you lose weight.